New beginnings are such hopeful times, filled with the belief that somehow all those behaviors that defined the past have been transformed or, at minimum, will slink off into the shadows and leave space for the better self we promise to be. So, with all the requisite hopes, this post marks a new beginning for Edge::Regenerate. Our first run lasted 12 months, and we came away with a healthy respect for the discipline required to post fresh new thinking week after week.
Why the new beginning now? Edge::Regenerate is taking on new purpose with the new initiative we’ve just launched at Regenesis. We’re stepping into the distance-learning world–our first offering an invitational series titled The Regenerative PractitionerTM, with the ultimate aim of growing a regenerative learning community. We’ll be writing more about that soon. In the meantime, our original welcome seems still relevant so we’ve re-posted it below.
Welcome to Edge : : Regenerate. Who are we? More details can be found on the Authors page, but basically we are professionals from business, community and economic development, education, architecture, Permaculture, and land development. We share a passionate belief that learning how to regenerate living systems—all living systems, human and otherwise—is the core imperative for the 21st Century. This imperative threads through, and gives direction to, the collaborations and dialogue that nourish our work within and across our individual disciplines.
Edge is “the outer or farthest point of something”; it’s to “have an advantage,” but it’s also “the point or moment just before a marked change or event.” For Ilya Prigogine, it was the place from which whole-system change was sourced. In ecology, it’s the area where different ecosystems or communities meet. This is where the “edge effect” takes place—a much greater abundance, diversity and fecundity of life than in any of the flanking communities.
Edge : : Regenerate is a dialogue in that edge where human and natural living systems meet. Questions and ideas we’ll be exploring there include: regeneration—what it really means, what it looks like in communities, business, development, etc., and why it’s essential. Living systems—what kind of mind is required to understand how they work and to design ways to partner with them in co-evolution? The role of humans on the planet, and the role of Place in helping us live it out. And many more.
Edge : : Regenerate is also an invitation to join our growing band of regenerates in this dialogue, deepening understanding and designing more intelligent manifestations of that understanding.
Most people believe that sustaining the planet is a good idea, given the impacts that human civilization is having. Business has played a big role in creating those impacts, and has been playing a big role in trying to address them. The problem is that sustainability only looks at half of what needs to be taken into account when thinking about whole living systems. Sustainability primarily addresses reducing impacts and increasing efficiencies. Corporate sustainability programs are wrapped almost entirely around these goals.
But every experienced businessperson knows you can’t make a healthy business by only reducing inefficiencies. The experience of running a successful business teaches that it’s the ability of a business to generate value that is the real source of its vitality and viability. You can only make a healthy business by figuring out what you want to grow, how to grow it effectively, and then defining inefficiency as anything that doesn’t produce what you are trying to grow. What is true of business is also true of the planet. More
Value-adding has gotten a bad rap. Mostly because we are used to hearing the term “value-added,” which has come to mean a financial reward for our step of the chain on the way to consumers.
I spoke in Beirut in November to the ministers of energy, environment and other arenas, plus 120 CEOs of corporations in related industries. The video is above. Value-adding is the subject of the talk. Value-adding means to change positively the lives of the stakeholders every time you engage them. The ‘ing” is indicative of a never-ended commitment to increase the value to the system of stakeholders.
More than half a century ago Aldo Leopold wrote of learning to think like a mountain. He claimed that this was essential to behaving ecologically. But how does a mountain think? Leopold provides one significant clue. He relates the story of seeing the dying “green fire” in the eyes of a wolf mother he shot. He tells us that a mountain must live in fear of its deer herd, for without predators the deer will eat her bare and the rains will strip her of soil.
Let’s follow Leopold’s trail and see where it takes us. His wolf story reminds me of another my friend tells about Yellowstone National Park: when wolves were reintroduced, they lowered the temperature of the water in many of the streams and rivers. How could this be? More
I sit and listen to the speakers at the Energy conference in Beirut, Lebanon present their papers and reports. One after another they describe what it will take to become a low carbon society. I wonder, do they really not understand that carbon is the basis of all life? A low carbon world is one where little or no life is happening! “Low carbon society” points to the biggest problem we have with reversing global warming, and creating healthy watersheds, cities and even our planet: not the carbon itself, but our way of thinking about it.
If we stood in the shoes of Life, we would hear her call us to increase our connection to the natural cycling of carbon as it regenerates life again and again. Life isn’t looking for carbon neutrality or carbon negative solutions. She wants carbon active, carbon engaged in life-generating processes. She wants us to be educated about carbon and how it works. She wants us as partners in the cycling processes that engage carbon with water and oxygen—molecules in motion that evolve the expression of a living planet. She wants us carbon positive, doing positive things with carbon. More
Carol Sanford and Joel Glanzberg on Chautauqua, KVNF, Public Radio. We explore the meaning of Story of Place® in creating Developmental Economies® and regenerating communities.
“Developmental Economies®” (DE) involve the Business community in a different and more effective way. DE is a way of improving the vitality and viability of existing business and creating and incubator for new businesses that extend the uniqueness of the region and its “vocation”. Every PLACE has a uniqueness and out of that comes an opportunity to create unique value-adding (rather than value-added) offerings that cannot be copied and as a result become valued in the region and beyond for their uniqueness and distinctiveness that mirrors the PLACE itself. The cities where this has happened, for examples Portland OR, Curitiba, Brazil, have increased greatly the wealth and prosperity of a place and overcome the hazards that traditional economic development causes. It also makes a more cohesive community within its diversity of creativity. You can stream it or download it for listening to later.
Throughout history, countries that have shipped their raw materials to other counties for processing have lost out to the converters. The further along the conversion process a company is, in adding value, the more viable it is through time. Nations, and the businesses in them by and large, become stable and wealthy because they can make and provide goods and services, not because they own a source of basic commodities. Even with soaring international prices, the amount of income generated by mineral resources in a modern advanced economy remains relatively low compared to the converted products into which they are made. The tendency is to seek efficiencies for a competitive advantage, leaving other nations and businesses to make the real wealth off the resource. This is a losing strategy in the long run, and the long run is getting closer every day. More
I love chocolate. My favorite is the seventy percent cocoa kind. I always read the package for source information and buy Fair Trade Certified. Because of that certification, I am trusting that the contract manufacturers’ workers and the indigenous craftspeople and field harvesters are paid fairly. I trust that they work under safe conditions and under global standards of health protection. I am so thankful that someone is doing that checking for me. I also know that I am only achieving part of the goal that I have as a conscious consumer. It is necessary but not….well you know.
When I buy household products, I want non-toxic products so when they go down the drain, or into the air, they are not harming the very sources of life (or humans). I want the materials that make it up to not destroy habitats with their by-products. I want raw materials to not come from substitution of invasive species for indigenous habitat (like palm oil’s rampant proliferation has). I want fish and wildlife, trees and habitats to benefit from my way of living. I want to know how corporations are working with the earth and her living systems. But again, this is part of my concern, not all. More
While working at the Rodale Institute several years ago ,we were surprised to learn that Robert Rodale, former Institute director and editor of Organic Gardening magazine was an Olympic skeet shooter. On further thought this made sense. In skeet shooting, one needs to trace the trajectory of the clay pigeon, imagine its future path, and aim leading it to impact it at some future as yet unrealized point. Rodale was expert at seeing the potential of existing trends. It was only natural that he would excel at doing this visually as well.
To many, the idea of tracing trajectory to imagine future potential may seem abstract and even unprofessional. Most marketing and planning is done looking to the past to guide it. This has been compared to driving by looking in the rear-view mirror. While it is essential to look at the past to imagine the future, it is the as yet unrealised future where we are headed. We will aim much better if we focus on that unrealised potential point. More
Jane Jacobs’ eloquent defense of the life, and death, of great American cities still rings true. As associate director of Architectural Forum in the 1960’s, Jacobs admonished us to remember what really made cities lively and alive—their inherent ability to foster creativity and innovation. Cities that do not add new levels and natures of work stagnate. “More of the Same” is deadening and results in cities that are no longer vibrant.
Yet many cities base their economic development plans on the expansion or recruitment of a cluster of similar businesses as a way to create “synergies.” The modern economic development plan seeks “like” businesses and related suppliers that support them, believing that they can create a center of excellence. This was the idea that Bangalore, India had when it established itself as the world’s premiere call-center. And Dublin Ireland had in pursuing the “computer chip manufacturing capital of the world” title. Both of these cities and others built on the same model are finding themselves in competition to hang on to what they have and in most cases find themselves closing down businesses at least as fast as they ramped them up.Why? More